Cletus Mushanawani in Mutare
Several top MDC-T members in Manicaland yesterday denounced the opposition party before defecting to Zanu-PF at a rally in Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency addressed by Acting President Phelekezela Mphoko.Dangamvura-Chikanga is one of the 21 seats which fell vacant after MDC-T re-called its legislators after they crossed the floor to the Renewal Team and out of these seats, the by-elections will take place in 14.
Seven of the seats will be filled by the MDC-T after it won them through proportional representation in the July 31 harmonised electioins.
The MDC-T members who turned their back on the opposition party included former national secretary for local government Ms Thokozani Bote and Nyanga Rural District Council Ward 26 councillor Ms Viola Tongoona.
Cde Isau Mupfumi will represent Zanu-PF in Dangamvura-Chikanga,
The rally addressed by Acting President Mphoko was attended by more than 3 000 party members, among them, four candidates, Cdes Binali Yard, Kenneth Muchina, Mike Duru and Future Pariyani, who contested and lost in the Zanu-PF primary elections.
In separate interviews on the sideline of the rally, the MDC-T defectors said they had “seen the light” that the different factions of the MDC were directionless and were being led by selfish people who did not have the electorate’s interests at heart.
Ms Tongoona said: “I have realised that there is no future in opposition parties, hence this bold decision to join Zanu-PF.
“I was never forced or coerced, but I realised that MDC-T under the leadership of Mr Morgan Tsvangirai has totally failed the people of Zimbabwe. You cannot have selfish leaders at the helm of a party. They want nothing else, but total power and power has blinded them.”
Ms Bote who once also served as the deputy national treasurer in the MDC-T women assembly said she had actively participated in the party for the past 16 years, but has never been appreciated by its leadership.
“As a family we were actively involved in the recruitment of supporters for MDC-T in Chipinge,” she said.
“Chipinge was a Zanu-Ndonga stronghold and together with my late father we worked tirelessly to recruit supporters for MDC-T.
“I realised how heartless Tsvangirai is after the death of my father as he did not have the courtesy of sending a condolence message despite knowing him very well. This affected me so much and from 2009 I took a deep reflection and realised that being in MDC-T was not the best thing for me.
“When the Renewal Team came on board, I was quick to join them, but I realised that they are birds of a feather. (Tendai) Biti and (Elton) Mangoma are power hungry. They are loudmouthed, but bankrupt when it comes to policies.”
Other MDC-T members who announced their defection included Ms Sithembile Mambirwi from Mutasa, Mrs Irene Chigayo (information and publicity secretary, Dangamvura-Chikanga) and her husband, Mr Bothwell Chigayo.
Addressing the rally, Acting President Mphoko called for unity of purpose among Zanu-PF cadres.
“It is pleasing to note that the candidates who lost during primary elections are also part of Cde Mupfumi’s campaign team,” he said. “This is the attitude that we want and not adopting the ‘bhora musango’ attitude.
“We should vote overwhelmingly for Cde Mupfumi. It will not only be victory for Cde Mupfumi, but Zanu-PF and President Mugabe.”
Speaking at the same rally, Zanu-PF national secretary for the commissariat, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, said the MDCs were now history after the electorate realised that they are puppets of the West.
“All these years, MDC-T has dismally failed to deliver on its promises to the electorate,” he said. “The party is just preoccupied with removing Zanu-PF from power with no solutions to the challenges facing the nation. If it was a church, MDC-T could have closed shop a long time ago.”
Cde Mupfumi will contest against Mr Pfugamai Mawire (Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn), Mr Ruramayi Musiiwa (NCA), Mr Piwai Gashirai (Freedom Party), Mr Maxwell Teedzai (Transform Zimbabwe) and independent candidates Mr Chengetai Richard Kadzere, Mr James Mundenda and Mr Kuziva Maundike.